Last week has been one of the most beautiful and memorable weeks of my life.
Sometime ago my friend Jo Norman, perfume consultant and lecturer at Kingston University London, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, had asked me to lead their first perfumery course. The result has been "Design With Scents", the first course in the world about the design of places through the sense of smell.
Enriched by the teachings of Jo herself and John Ayres (that together form Pandora), the one-week, full-time scent marathon took off last Monday, with a fantastic group of students, coming from different walks of life, all highly engaged and talented.
Having such a good combination of experience and interest from our students was incredibly lucky. Each one of them has contributed so much in the success of the course, in the learning process, in the exchange of knowledge and passion and in the creation of a scent design network.
Coming from China, Germany, France, Belgium, Saudi Arabia and the UK, their background was in: sensory marketing, urban environment, tobacco flavouring, jewellery design, communication, cosmetics and event design. I feel so enriched having spent a week with them!
Our perfume trip started with the holistic perfume experience, discovering how scents can affect our emotions. We used synesthesia (cross-sensory modality) to study perfume as a creative language. Through interactive sessions, we discovered the scents that form a perfumer's palette.
After the sensory discovery of scents, we took the time machine and looked at how, throughout time scents have talked about history, fashions and culture, with an inspiring session lead by Jo Norman.
One of our students, Dr. Victoria Henshaw from Manchester University, presented her PhD. research "Smell In The City", about scents and urban environments, which helped to raise awareness of the relationship between the two.
As the workshop progressed, students formed different "Scent Agencies". Every agency analysed a specific environment and came up with a scent design solution. Guided by John Ayres, we experienced how to translate that vision into scent, through a truly inspiring fragrance creation session.
On their final day, the 4 scent design solutions that students created were presented, as peers, course leader and guest speakers provided feedback on the whole creative process. Working on retail, residential and shared spaces projects, each project showed excellent concepts and fragrance solutions.
A student from Saudi Arabia has been incredibly kind in sharing with us some sensory delights from her culture: Saudi Arabian Oud, Rose Water, Coffee and 3 qualities of dates, which have been my drug for the week!
The more our senses opened, the more they were demanding attention. On our last day, we paid visit to Floris, the historical London fragrance house, as they kindly took us on a tour of their perfume studio in Jermyn Street.
On the verge of a sensory overload, our trip finished with a gourmand experience (macaroons), after which we sipped gin and tonic over indoor strawberry fields and finally had real Italian pizza, to celebrate our happiness!
The experience was thoroughly enjoyed by teachers and students equally. Due to our excitement and the overwhelming feedback, we are happy to announce that Design With Scents course will be repeated next July 2013! Click here for the programme and to book your place.
My most sincere thank you to Kingston, Jo Norman and John Ayres and our incredible students for making this course happen.
See you next year,
NP / SP